The Winnipeg Free Press reports that, “Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore is going to bat for Thompson, speaking out against the foreign-owned mining giant Vale that’s decided to close the northern Manitoba city’s main employer, its smelter and refinery. …Vale, a Brazilian company, bought out Inco in 2006. In the fall, Vale received a $1-billion loan from the federal government, the release said. Despite promises to increase employment, Vale announced the closure of the smelter and refinery, eliminating all the value-added mining jobs in Thompson by 2015…”
Moore writes, “Right now Thompson is fighting a frontline battle in a war that’s been raging for the past 30 years — the global war of the world’s rich on the middle class. It’s a war the people of Flint and all of Michigan know much too well. It’s a war going on right now in Wisconsin. And it’s a war where the middle class just won a round in Egypt. …Vale and the Harper government don’t want a future where Brazil gradually becomes more like Canada. Instead, they want a future where Canada becomes Brazil.”
In October 2010, Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter activist Ken Kavanagh also challenged the $1 billion loan to Vale in a letter to the editor in the Toronto Star, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=4990.
It should be highlighted that Vale started constructing a nickel processing plant at Long Harbour in Newfoundland in April 2009. The $2.2 billion plant – to be completed in 2013 – will process nickel from the company’s operations in Voisey’s Bay and dump approximately 400,000 tonnes of tailings annually into Sandy Pond, a 30-hectare freshwater lake. The Council of Canadians is a member of the Sandy Pond Alliance which is challenging in Federal Court the Schedule 2 provision that allows this to happen. Earlier this month Vale was granted a limited intervener status in that case, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=6484.
Keep in mind too that Vale also lobbied for the defeat of C-300, a bill aimed at curbing mining company abuses abroad and which would have promoted water justice, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5095 and http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5297.
Past campaign blogs have also highlighted strikes against Vale in Voisey’s Bay in Labrador, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5874, and in Sudbury, Ontario where they sought to end the defined pension plan for the workers there, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=3172.
To read Michael Moore’s blog on Vale in Thompson, please go to http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/why-i-support-people-of-thompson-canada. The Winnipeg Free Press article is at http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Filmmaker+Michael+Moore+goes+Manitoba+mining+town/4353106/story.html.